Piano Buyer’s Guide
Choosing the right piano can be a very pleasant and rewarding experience for an informed buyer. This guide will assist you in educating yourself on how to select the right piano – based on your specific needs.
Take a look at a few of the topics that the Buyer’s Guide covers…
How a piano works
When a player’s finger strikes a key, it sets the key action (a series of levers connected to a felt hammer) in motion. The hammer strikes one, or a combination of metal strings, which causes them to vibrate. The vibrations are transmitted from the strings to the soundboard through bass and treble bridges. The soundboard converts the vibrations into what is known as piano tone, and amplifies the notes so that they can be heard.
Selecting your piano
Along with your personal musical requirements, the size of the room where the piano will be placed is an important consideration when determining which size of piano is appropriate. Sound quality and volume is directly related to the size of the soundboard and length of its strings. Therefore, the larger the piano, the better it will sound. If you have the available space and budget, you will be happier with a grand piano. That being said, a high quality vertical is a better choice than a low quality grand.
The major difference between an vertical and a grand piano, other than looks and size, is the position of the soundboard. In a grand piano, the soundboard and strings are positioned horizontally; in a vertical piano, they are positioned vertically. For this reason, verticals are commonly called vertical pianos. Another difference is the key action in a grand piano, as the action works with gravity and is more responsive than a vertical.
Servicing your piano
Routine service is an important part of piano ownership, and you should consider it no more unusual than the maintenance program you would have for any other fine mechanical object you own. There are three basic steps in maintaining the sound of your piano: tuning, which brings the piano back to pitch; voicing, which affects the piano’s tone, or quality of sound; and regulation, or the adjustment of the action mechanism which affects the touch of the piano.
Tuning and voicing are different aspects of adjusting the piano to its optimum standard of performance. Tuning is the adjustment of the piano’s strings to the correct pitch. Voicing is the adjustment of the piano’s tone or sound and is done by softening or hardening the hammers and adjusting various parts of the piano’s keyboard mechanism. Regardless of its original voicing, every piano will acquire a somewhat brighter tone with time as the hammer felts become compacted the more they are struck against the strings.
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